KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 — Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli has defended his remarks about Malaysians being addicted to eating out saying it was not something he made up.
He said it was based on recorded data from findings collected over the past 20 years.
“The government has complete data collected every two years through household expenditure surveys.
“Through the data, we can see that the income used for eating out, whether it’s take-out or eating at a restaurant or stall, that has grown over the years. This is not about me making up stories but this is based on the data,” he said in a Sinar Harian report today.
Last Monday, Rafizi reportedly said that the addictive habit of eating out makes a large part of people’s monthly income being spent to fulfil that desire.
He said the consequences of such unhealthy practices also cause them to experience a decrease in income and become more sensitive to the sudden inflation in the price of cooked food, even when the main inflation has decreased.
Rafizi’s statement sparked controversy when a few parties including the former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin came forward to criticise the remark.
Khairy reportedly said that Rafizi’s action which touched on the issue of people’s addictive habit of eating out to the extent that it affected their monthly income should not have been done because it was like prying into a hornet’s nest.
Commenting further, Rafizi who is also the Pandan MP said that the main thing that makes it difficult to reduce inflation is the culture of eating outside and it becomes the main component in inflation from month to month.
“The only item of household expenditure that is the most elastic and difficult to lower is actually the food that is cooked and taken home,” he said.
In the report on Monday he also reportedly said it is high time that people spend on travelling to and for work and how much time they have when they return from work to prepare food.
He said that these are all things that are the unintended consequences of many policies of the past.